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that feminine strength.

June 14, 2012

I’ve been avoiding blogging for awhile now.  Since my last post was a {part one} sort of thing, I figured I couldn’t blog again until I was ready to dive back into that subject, but I’m doing away with that.  I’ll get back to processing the past few months at a later point.  I decided I just needed to start writing again to get back in the habit of it.

I don’t think it’s any sort of secret or anything, but I’m a little bit of a feminist.  When using that word in Christian circles I get all sorts of weird looks, like people assume I’m into bra burning or hairy armpits, or, God-forbid, believing in female leadership in the church.  Well, that last part is true and there have been occasions when I have left my underarms untended.  But what I really mean when I say that I’m a little bit of a feminist (or a lot a bit…) is that I whole heartedly believe that women are really really awesome and have a special part to play in God’s plan of redeeming all of creation.  Now, I usually have to clarify to my church friends that this doesn’t mean that I hate men.  I really love men.  I just think that God hasn’t necessarily placed one sex over the other in authority or favoritism.

But I’ve been realizing that in spite of my insistence about loving men and women equally and believing that it will take a reconciliation between the sexes for the Kingdom to be fully realized, I have harbored a decent amount of bitterness and judgement in my heart towards men that feel the need to dominate women in the workplace or theologically, or can’t help but make ridiculous jokes about women staying in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.  For me, these men are wrong.  Just plain ol’ wrong.  Nevertheless, bitterness is not the path to which I am called.

I was recently in a situation where I was getting so frustrated by the idiotic jokes and pointless prods that I texted my amazingly supportive and wonderful husband to complain about men not listening to my rational, biblically sound reasons for believing that women were awesome.  In typical Gil fashion, he challenged me to react in the opposite spirit.  My response?  “What’s that, humility?  I don’t like that.”  Real Jesus like Candace, good work.  He said, “No, honor.”  In that moment it clicked – if what I truly get prickly at is being dominated, then domination through wit or reason cannot be my response.  I am called to honor and care for each individual, male and female, because they are a child of God.  This applies to murderers, preachers, lesbians, and, yes, even chauvinistic church people.

So that’s the revelation for the moment – figuring out how to be a strong, passionate, confident woman, and yet not dominate with my strength, but serve and change the minds of men through my life, not my words.  I picked up Lisa Bevere‘s newest book Lioness Arising today and was struck by this quote, “Will we ever be women at ease with our strength and at rest with our power?  Will we wear our beauty comfortably?” (pg 23).  For me, this challenged my need to force my awesome woman strength on all those around me, and instead, be comfortable in my own skin, confident in who I am, and that inner strength and beauty will challenge the presuppositions of those around me who might have doubts about a woman’s position or role in the world, especially in the church.

Now, I should put this clarifier out there, I do believe there are situations that call for women to assert their strength and confidence in tackling large issues of gender inequality and oppression.  And this new revelation probably won’t get me to stop giving some of my guy friends that look when they make ridiculous statements and jokes or to stop challenging damaging theological ideas about women in the church.  But I do believe those things can come from a new place within me.  A place where my strength as a woman is not dependent on men in power agreeing with me and opening the doors wide for women in ministry, but is dependent on my understanding of my identity as a daughter of the King and an heir to the Kingdom.  It changes the fight for women in the church from one of prying open the tight fists of the patriarchal regime, to one of serving, like Jesus did, and have the church recognize that the work of reconciliation and the Kingdom is better represented when women are functioning and operating fully in the gifts and ministries of the Spirit.

For more discussion on the role of women in the church, I highly recommend Rachel Held Evans’ recent week of blogs entitled Mutuality 2012.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lori permalink
    June 15, 2012 1:20 pm

    Amen, Candace!! Well put! We miss you in Minnesota, by the way!!


  2. July 11, 2012 5:55 am

    I enjoyed this…thanks!


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